No Carrot for FSA after Horsemeat Crisis Management Failures

Smoldering crisis still remains six months after initial incident exposed

Remember the horsemeat crisis? It dominated headlines for a while, but as the investigation dragged on and recalls dried up, the whole situation dropped out of public consciousness. Now, some six months after the initial announcements hit, a new report out of the UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that takes the country’s Food Standards Agency to task for a laundry list of crisis management failures is drawing attention to the fact that the original situation remains unresolved.

Just look at these selections from the report, featured in a BBC article:

In its report into food contamination, the committee said: “We are dismayed at the slow pace of investigations and would like assurance that prosecutions will be mounted where there is evidence of fraud or other illegal activity.”

It added: “The evidence we received from retailers and food processors in the UK and Ireland suggests a complex, highly organised network of companies trading in and mislabelling frozen and processed meat or meat products in a way that fails to meet specifications, and that is fraudulent and illegal.”

Authorities carried out several raids across the UK amid the horsemeat scandal and three men were arrested under the Fraud Act, but no prosecutions have so far been brought.

The committee also pointed the finger at the FSA for being slow to act after initial reports, and for its testing process, which they called, “not sufficiently innovative or forward-looking”

The fact that those responsible for what is, allegedly, a “complex, highly organized network of companies” involved in passing off horsemeat as beef have not been discovered, and that literally none of the loopholes which allowed it to occur in the first place have been closed, leads us to call this a smoldering crisis, just waiting for the right gust to flare it up into a full-on reputation disaster yet again.

The BCM Blogging Team

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